After watching the first two seasons of Daredevil, I realized how relatable of a character Matt Murdock/Daredevil is. Sure, most of us aren’t blind, bad ass vigilantes running around New York City cloaked in the darkness of night, but there are other parts of the character we can relate to.
First, Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson are broke. Way broke. Sure, Matt lives in a huge apartment by himself, but in reality it’s after the post destruction of New York after Avengers and the giant, glowing billboard outside that no one wanted to see… and since Matt can’t see he gets a killer deal. Also, like Stick mentions, the apartment is pretty much trash. If you look closely, you’ll notice pieces of his kitchen are made out of plywood. Matt,Foggy, and Karen, are constantly talking about how their firm has no money
at all and so they’re not really getting paid. Matt’s closet basically has one suit that he wears every day, a box of his father’s items, and his Daredevil outfit. The nicest thing that Matt has in his apartment are his silk sheets, which even broke people could splurge for. Lastly, Matt is a lawyer, and law school is expensive. Way expensive. There is no doubt that he realistically received scholarships because of his blindness, intelligence, and lack of parents, but it is also unlikely that he made it all the way through without taking about any loans. Overall, Matt is pretty broke.
Second, Matt didn’t figure out his calling until his early 30’s. (It’s hard to place his exact age in the show. However, based on the assumptions that he went straight to law school after his undergraduate degree and that law school took between three and four years, and the “ten years ago” call back to when he met Elektra at a faculty party, we can assume that Matt is somewhere between 32 and 36 years old.) Sure, Matt figured out that he wanted to help people when he was young, arguably when he pushed the man out of the way of the truck. And he went to law school and then started his own firm. But until he became Daredevil, he was not entirely fulfilled. His calling was to be Daredevil, and in the show he tells Foggy halfway through the first season that he first acted as a vigilante six months ago when he heard a young girl being abused by her father. This is made even clearer near the end of season one and in the second season when he misses work all the time. He prioritizes his time as Daredevil and its potential effects on his life higher than his work. Furthermore, he prioritizes these actions more than his friends. Matt is clearly not lawful good, but he does have a set of rules that he follows, and it seems clear through multiple incidents that he is loyal to his friends. Despite this, he lets his alter-ego destroy his relationships with Foggy and Karen in the second season. Based on the way he prioritizes Daredevil above everything else, including his own safety, we can see very clearly that he is passionate about what he is doing and that it is indeed his calling.
Third, we need to be honest about Daredevil’s powers. Needless to say, they are not as pronounced as any of the Avengers, which is why he’s considered a part of the Defenders. In terms of super powers he got the short end of the stick. He went blind saving a man, and he just gets a more robust version of what blind people already experience. Studies, which are linked below in the name of science, show that blind people hear, smell, and feel things (touch) more intensely than someone who can see. Early in Season 1, we see that his powers actually cause him more pain and difficulty until Stick shows up and starts to train him. After a brief amount of time, possibly a year or less, Stick leaves, and Matt is left alone again. Despite being able to control his powers in a way that allows him to live an effectively normal life, it seems that Matt stops practicing to be some sort of hero. Based on his gorgeous abs we can assume he kept in better shape than the rest of us, but like I mentioned earlier, he didn’t start acting as vigilante until just before Season 1. The point of this is to say that Matt could have easily not been a hero, but when he decided to take that challenge on, he built his ability to act in the way that he does by himself.
Fourth, Matt is not a completely good person. Daredevil and its writers in both seasons have taken the time to intentionally blur the lines between what makes someone good or evil. Think about Fisk. He had friends and a girlfriend/fiancé. He appreciated art. He had dreams to make the city he loved a better place. Even Daredevil wondered if Fisk actually meant well for a brief glimmer. There were redeeming qualities about Fisk that made you wonder if Daredevil was doing the right thing. The same thing happens with The Punisher in Season 2. The Punisher is a war hero, having received the second highest medal of honor possible, only to return home and have his family be killed. There’s a beautiful moment between The Punisher and Daredevil where The Punisher asks what makes Daredevil any different. He says, “You don’t kill people? That somehow makes you better than me?” There’s a few lines and he says, “You’re only one bad day away from being me.” Then he picks up a gun and shoots a few people as Daredevil watches with horror. All of this points that to the idea that Matt/Daredevil isn’t a completely good person. He breaks laws, which he has sworn to protect as a lawyer, he hunts people down and hurts them to effect change or find out information, and he lies to some of the people closest to him about all of these actions. At the same time, we see the “villains” in this show displaying redeeming qualities, while the “hero” show fatal flaws in his good versus evil theory. No, Matt and his alter ego are not completely good people (read more about this here!)
These four things make Matt/Daredevil just like the rest of us. Most of us are broke out of our minds and probably eat a lot like Matt. In other words, hoping people you work with leave extra food for you to eat and survive on mostly beer at home. Most of us still have no idea what we want to do with our lives. Matt didn’t find what he was truly passionate about until his 30’s, which means that many of us can take a breath and relax, because we still have time. Most of us try to be good and still mess up most of the time. And most of us don’t really think we have any abilities that are outstandingly special, but Daredevil blows that out of the water. Really if we apply what we’re good at to something we love, we become our own heroes. These are the realizations that I came upon as I binge watched Marvel’s Daredevil.
In the name of science: Blindness and Senses
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